A dedication to creating solutions that help protect the world’s environment is not just part of IBM’s smarter planet agenda; it has been one of the guiding principles of our company for nearly four decades.
IBM’s longstanding commitment to environmental protection was first formalised as a corporate policy in 1971. From how we run our operations to the products and solutions we provide to our clients, we are committed to leadership across environmental areas ranging from energy efficiency and water conservation to pollution prevention and product stewardship.
We are committed to environmental leadership in all of our business activities, from our operations to the way we design our products and use technology. Our efforts in this regard reduce our costs, help create a healthy workplace for our employees and clients, and help to protect the environment that nurtures us all.
To identify and effectively manage the potential environmental impact of our operations, IBM established and has maintained a worldwide Environmental Management System (EMS) since the late 70’s. The EMS is integral in our efforts to protect the environment and drive energy efficiency. It forms a crucial foundation of our broader commitment to corporate citizenship.
The IBM worldwide Environmental Management System is implemented in Australia and New Zealand. Local environmental programs cover areas such as: chemical and waste minimisation and management; energy efficiency and conservation; environmental evaluation of suppliers; product stewardship and end-of-life management; incident prevention, preparedness, response and reporting; and environmental due diligence for real estate transactions. IBM has introduced and integrated voluntary environmental goals and targets supported by the business into facility operations and product development processes to further drive continual environmental improvement. Governance and controls posture are key elements of these processes.
EMS & ISO 14001 accreditation
In 1997, IBM became the world's first major multinational to have earned a single worldwide registration to the ISO 14001 Environmental Management System standard. The registration covers IBM's manufacturing, product design and hardware development operations across its business units worldwide. IBM was able to earn its single worldwide registration to ISO 14001 because of its longstanding global environmental management system.
IBM has since expanded its global ISO 14001 registration to include chemical-using research locations, and several IBM country organisations who have voluntarily obtained ISO 14001 registration covering nonmanufacturing locations. The IBM West Pennant Hills site in Australia has maintained this accreditation (certificate number 43820.36) since 2002. In October 2008 the Baulkham Hills data processing centre was also added to the IBM global ISO 14001 EMS accreditation.
Product Stewardship program
IBM's Product Stewardship program was established in 1991 to bring additional focus to the corporate environmental affairs policy objectives on product environmental design and performance.
The Product Stewardship program within IBM's worldwide EMS provides development organisations with direction and goals, infrastructure, tools and expertise to apply environmental life cycle considerations from product concept through product end-of-life management. The objectives of IBM's Product Stewardship program include:
Environmental design requirements are communicated and verified with suppliers.
Waste minimisation and management
IBM has focused for decades on recycling its non-hazardous waste. Our goal is to send an annual average of 75% of the non-hazardous waste generated at locations managed by IBM to be recycled.
In 2010, IBM sent 79% of its nonhazardous waste to be recycled. n 2010, 63% of a total of 811 metric tons of non-hazardous waste was diverted from landfill and recycled from facilities in Australia, similar to 65% achieved in 2009.
Ongoing improvements to office waste collection and recycling systems at leased locations shall be developed to continue to drive annual recycling performance to meet the corporate target.
Energy conservation and climate protection
At IBM, we are taking a proactive approach to address the complex issue of anthropocentric global warming. Firstly, by applying our technological and engineering leadership to reduce emissions associated with our operations, and secondly, to create innovative IT solutions and increasing the energy efficiency of our products to support clients.
IBM has comprehensive and multifaceted programs focused on energy efficiency and climate protection. They include:
IBM’s commitment to energy conservation dates back to 1974 and has continued, unabated, over the intervening years.
IT reuse and recycling
As part of its product end-of-life management (PELM) activities, IBM began offering product takeback programs in Europe in 1989 and has extended and enhanced them over the years.
IBM’s Global Asset Recovery Services organisation offers Asset Recovery Solutions to commercial customers in ountries where IBM does business, including:
IBM has IT equipment refurbishment and reuse operations in Australia. IBM first began recycling IT equipment from its operations in Australia in the late 80’s with a more formal program established by 1994. In 2010, IBM’s PELM operations in Australia reused and recycled almost 740 metric tons of IT equipment with < 1% disposed to landfill.
IBM’s employees engagement program “ThinkGreen”, is an example of the company’s leadership in sustainability.
In 2009 we invited all IBMers in Australia and New Zealand – in the office, on client sites and at home – to submit ideas for actions which would have a positive impact on our environment; ideas that could be implemented to make our own work and life smarter.
Then, employee ideas were implemented: from minimising printing materials and installing power saving software on workstations, to adding additional bicycle racks, encouraging public transport, introducing a carpooling on-line collaborative tool and giving away reusable coffee cups. Using collaborative software, the “ThinkGreen” on-line community engages and communicates with employees passionate about sustainability, and advocates for green innovation. For example there are communications to all employees around initiatives like: Ride to Work, Walk to Work, Earth Hour, Enviroweek, Clean Up Australia Day, Commuter Club and healthy lifestyle sporting events.
In addition to the ThinkGreen program, numerous employees are engaged in the On Demand Community project focused on climate protection.
Also, we’ve used education as a tool to offer employees the opportunity to ‘become their own expert’. IBM deployed the “Change 2” Office Challenge Pilot in October 2010. It helps employees measure personal footprints, see the world from a carbon-conscious perspective, identify actions and track personal progress towards sustainability.
IBM currently has a regeneration plan at our West Pennant Hills location in Sydney, removing noxious weeds and promoting regeneration of flora and fauna. There are nationally protected remnant ‘Sydney Blue Gum High Forest’ and Remediation and Protection ‘Sydney Turpentine Ironbark Margin Forest’ located on site. The location at West Pennant Hills, combined with the neighbouring Cumberland State Forest, protect some unique and rare plant communities and fauna, including the Powerful Owl.